“A tested, proven , and comprehensive new approach that is sure to
become the new hallmark of the Innovation Movement.”


Robert B. Tucker

Founder and President, The Innovation Resource, and best-selling author of seven books on innovation.

Robert B. Tucker
Robert B. Tucker books

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The book you hold in your hands takes up a big issue: Why do mature companies so often screw things up when it comes to driving growth through innovation? Why do these companies – full of bright engineers, creative marketers, seasoned managers, and lavishly-paid senior executives – get it wrong so often? Is this the inevitable because innovation is so inherently difficult? Or is it the way we approach innovation that is woefully in need
of transformation?

The authors of this book believe it is the latter. They offer, in these pages, a tested, proven , and comprehensive new approach that is sure to become the new hallmark of the Innovation Movement.

Authors Markham and Mugge have unimpeachable credibility to tackle this task. Both have vast industry experience. Both have seen countless successes and endless messes. Yet both have emerged unscathed and without cynicism. They do not shout their new methods from the rooftops. They are not wild-eyed promoters. However, they are quiet revolutionaries, nonetheless, who promise to upend the current assumptions with a simple but compelling premise: There is a better way to do innovation. In this volume, they reveal it: systematic innovation.

Traversing the Valley of Death was written for innovation leaders. It will guide you in overcoming the barriers to commercializing growth-spawning projects. It is a full-on system, not a disjointed collection of random tools and best practices. It spans the entire innovation process: from idea generation and opportunity-sensing, through the development phase, and on through the internal Valley of Death by a thousand cuts (budget, resource allocation, etc.). It deals forthrightly with all the ways an idea can get derailed and arms you with tools to encourage you to think ahead of the curve. And it motivates you to get started!

Perhaps the biggest barrier to successful innovation is not risk-averse management, but a new threat: the sheer complexity of innovating in mind-numbingly large organizations. As the authors point out, the information requirements for big, radical projects are substantial. Thus, in Chapter 7, Tools and Techniques, the authors demonstrate how to integrate Big Data analytics to mitigate this numbing complexity and win with new projects.

What gives this book particular resonance is that both authors are affiliated with one of the top public-private innovation consortiums in the world: NC State University’s Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS). Think of it as a test laboratory for practitioners to come together in confidence to speak frankly about key issues within their companies. The Markham-Mugge system is thus constantly being tested at organizations such as IBM, BASF, Cisco, NetApp, Biogen Idec, Air Products, Kelly Services, MeadWestvaco, Pentair and many others.

What they have given us in this volume is a step-by-step guide not just for avoiding the booby traps and snipers that lurk in that Valley of Death, but an inspiring treatise for delivering breakthrough products and services, stepping up your game, and becoming indispensable to your organization.

Robert B. Tucker
Santa Barbara, California
September 2014


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